As discussed in the previous chapter, case research is an intensive longitudinal study of a phenomenon at one or more research sites for the purpose of deriving detailed, contextualized inferences and understanding the dynamic process underlying a phenomenon of interest. Lastly, data collection and analysis can proceed simultaneously and iteratively in interpretive research. The most popular of these method is the participatory action research, designed by Susman and Evered (1978) [13] . Interpretive interpretations tend to focus on language, signs, and meanings from the perspective of the participants involved in the social phenomenon, in contrast to statistical techniques that are employed heavily in positivist research. The second level is to understand the meaning of the participants’ experiences in order to provide a “thick description” or a rich narrative story of the phenomenon of interest that can communicate why participants acted the way they did. Hence, such research requires an immersive involvement of the researcher at the study site for an extended period of time in order to capture the entire evolution of the phenomenon of interest. Many puritan interpretive researchers reject this coding approach as a futile effort to seek consensus or objectivity in a social phenomenon which is essentially subjective. Action research . This is in contrast to the positivist or functionalist paradigm that assumes that the reality is relatively independent of the context, can be abstracted from their contexts, and studied in a decomposable functional manner using objective techniques such as standardized measures. An interpretivist approach is a way to conduct research that includes the researcher's subjective analysis as an important aspect. (1978). Examples of actions may include organizational change programs, such as the introduction of new organizational processes, procedures, people, or technology or replacement of old ones, initiated with the goal of improving an organization’s performance or profitability in its business environment. Sometimes, coded qualitative data is tabulated quantitatively as frequencies of codes, but this data is not statistically analyzed. Thus, … Case research . This method follows an action research cycle consisting of five phases: (1) diagnosing, (2) action planning, (3) action taking, (4) evaluating, and (5) learning (see Figure 10.1). During that process, she learnt and chronicled how chimpanzees seek food and shelter, how they socialize with each other, their communication patterns, their mating behaviors, and so forth. Whether a researcher should pursue interpretive or positivist research depends on paradigmatic considerations about the nature of the phenomenon under consideration and the best way to study it. This type of research is based on empathy and understanding the perspective of research subjects. Use of expressive language: Documenting the verbal and non-verbal language of participants and the analysis of such language are integral components of interpretive analysis. [16] Lincoln, Y. S., and Guba, E. G. (1985). Such iterations between the understanding/meaning of a phenomenon and observations must continue until “theoretical saturation” is reached, whereby any additional iteration does not yield any more insight into the phenomenon of interest. Second, they are often helpful for theory construction in areas with no or insufficient a priori theory. A third technique is documentation , where external and internal documents, such as memos, electronic mails, annual reports, financial statements, newspaper articles, websites, may be used to cast further insight into the phenomenon of interest or to corroborate other forms of evidence. Recall that positivist or deductive methods, such as laboratory experiments and survey research, are those that are specifically intended for theory (or hypotheses) testing, while interpretive or inductive methods, such as action research and ethnography, are intended for theory building. The researcher must provide rich, detailed descriptions of the research context (“thick description”) and thoroughly describe the structures, assumptions, and processes revealed from the data so that readers can independently assess whether and to what extent are the reported findings transferable to other settings. Confirmability refers to the extent to which the findings reported in interpretive research can be independently confirmed by others (typically, participants). This is a valuable but often understated benefit of interpretive research, and is not available in positivist research, where the research project cannot be modified or changed once the data collection has started without redoing the entire project from the start. Relativist ontology. “An Assessment of the Scientific Merits of Action Research,”. Qualitative Psychology: A Practical Guide to Research Methods . “see through the smoke” (hidden or biased agendas) and understand the true nature of the problem. In addition to fundamental paradigmatic differences in ontological and epistemological assumptions discussed above, interpretive and positivist research differ in several other ways. The methods include interviews and observation. [15] Giorgi, A and Giorgi, B (2003) Phenomenology. The researcher’s choice of actions must be based on theory, which should explain why and how such actions may bring forth the desired social change. Fourth, given the heavily contextualized nature of inferences drawn from interpretive research, such inferences do not lend themselves well to replicability or generalizability. The theory is validated by the extent to which the chosen action is successful in remedying the targeted problem.